will have some kind of urinary problem or injury in their lifetime.
Urinary tract problems and injuries can range from
minor to more serious. Sometimes, minor and serious problems can start with the
same symptoms. Many urinary problems and injuries are minor, and home treatment
is all that is needed to relieve your symptoms.
See pictures of the
female urinary system and
male urinary system.
Many things can affect urine color, including fluid balance, diet, medicines, and diseases. How dark or light the color is tells you how much water is in it. Vitamin B supplements can turn urine bright yellow. Some medicines, blackberries, beets, rhubarb, or blood in the urine can turn urine red-brown.
Some foods (such as asparagus), vitamins, and antibiotics (such as penicillin) can cause urine to have a different odor. A sweet, fruity odor may be caused by uncontrolled diabetes. A urinary tract infection (UTI) can cause a bad odor.
Common symptoms of a urinary problem
When you only have one symptom or if your symptoms are
vague, it can be harder to figure out what the problem is. If you are slightly
dehydrated, your urine will be more concentrated, and
urinating may cause discomfort. Drink more fluids—enough to keep your urine
light yellow or clear like water—to help decrease discomfort.
When you have a urinary
tract infection (UTI), you may have several urinary symptoms. UTIs are more
common in women than in men. This is because the
urethra is shorter in women and comes into contact
with bacteria from the skin, anus, and vagina. You can reduce your chance of
having a UTI by controlling
risk factors that can cause these infections.
commonly cause UTI symptoms include:
are another urinary problem that can cause mild to severe urinary symptoms. Men
ages 20 to 30 are affected most often with kidney stones, but
anyone can get stones at any age. For more information, see the topic
injury to the genital area can cause severe pain.
severity of the pain is not always an indicator of the severity of the injury.
After an injury such as a hit to the genital area, it is important to watch for
urinary problems. You usually need to see your doctor if you are having trouble
urinating, can't urinate, have blood in your urine, have swelling, or have
In women and girls,
genital skin irritation can cause pain with
As people age, some
urinary problems become more common.
Stress incontinence is the most common form of urinary
incontinence in older women. Multiple childbirths, aging, and decreasing
hormone levels may cause changes in the pelvic muscles and supportive
structures that lead to stress incontinence. It may also occur in men,
especially those who have had prostate surgery. For more information, see the
Urinary Incontinence in Women or
Urinary Incontinence in Men.
trouble urinating or the inability to urinate is often caused by
prostate enlargement. For more information, see the
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH).
Check your symptoms to decide if and when
you should see a doctor.
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system's ability to fight off infection and
illness. Some examples in adults are:
Symptoms of diabetes may
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be
able to take care of this problem at home.
Temperature varies a little depending on how you measure it.
For adults and children age 12 and older, these are the ranges for high,
moderate, and mild, according to how you took the temperature.
Oral (by mouth) temperature
Ear or rectal temperature
Armpit (axillary) temperature
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind
of care you may need. These include:
If you're not sure if a fever is high, moderate, or mild,
think about these issues:
With a high fever:
With a moderate fever:
With a mild fever:
Pain in adults and older children
A severe urgency problem means
A moderate or mild urgency problem means
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The
problem probably will not get better without medical care.
An illness plan for people with diabetes usually covers things like:
The plan is designed to help keep your diabetes in control even
though you are sick. When you have diabetes, even a minor illness can cause
Many prescription and nonprescription medicines can cause
urinary symptoms. A few examples include:
It is easy for your diabetes to become out of control when
you are sick. Because of an illness:
Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Starting home treatment at the
first minor signs of a
bladder infection may prevent the problem from getting
worse, clear up your infection, and prevent complications.
If you have
bladder infections without complications, you and your
doctor may develop a self-treatment plan. The plan usually includes taking
antibiotics at the first sign of a bladder infection. Contacting your doctor is
not necessary. For more information, see the topic
Urinary Tract Infections in Teens and Adults.
If you are certain that your symptoms are caused by a bladder infection,
follow your doctor's instructions for taking the medicine and monitoring your
symptoms. Keep a diary of the number of times you use your self-treatment plan.
Call your doctor if:
Your self-treatment plan is developed for your health needs.
Do not take antibiotics that have not been specifically prescribed for this
bladder infection. Do not take antibiotics left over from a previous
prescription or antibiotics prescribed for someone else.
Urinary incontinence is common,
especially among older adults. Home treatment can often help decrease your
information about home treatment for other urinary problems, see the
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
You can help prevent urinary problems by
following these tips:
The following tips can help women prevent urinary
For information about preventing kidney stone formation, see
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the
Remember that a urine specimen will probably be collected
during your office visit. Try not to urinate immediately before the
August 15, 2013
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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